Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs after you experience a traumatic event. These events may have created intense feelings of powerlessness, fear, horror, or anxiety. Traumatic events may include, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, rape, war, accidents, natural disasters. Witnessing any of those events can also lead to PTSD.
Human beings are incredibly resilient and often times with supports in place many people are able to work through trauma and heal on their own. While common to experience feelings of depression and anxiety after a traumatic event, if those feelings continue or persist for a long period of time (more than a few months) you may have developed PTSD.
Memories / Re-Experience: you continually relive the experience in some fashion; flashbacks, hallucinations, vivid feelings that were experienced originally. Sometimes these are triggered by reminders of the event(s).
Avoidance: consistent avoidance of things, people, and situations that remind you of the event. Avoidance symptoms lead to avoiding your own thoughts and feelings; a shutting down and disconnection from who you are as a person.
Behavior Changes: these often come from experiencing increased arousal which can result in outbursts, irritability, on edge, jumpy, and difficulty sleeping. These often leave you feeling hyper-vigilant and sensitive.
There are several treatments for PTSD some of which are:
Exposure Therapy - slowly exposing the client to the triggering event, while practicing calming techniques to stay centered and grounded during the anxiety. As you practice with your therapist, you become more skilled at calming yourself down, and eventually the symptoms go away or sometimes they are quickly alleviated.
Cognitive Therapy - this process examines how you think about your trauma. It focuses on thought patterns and how to reframe them in ways that are supportive and healthy long term.